A Little Boy, Uncle Mike’s Chair and a Spider
On a weekday morning in the late 1960’s, my mom dropped me off at aunt Rocky’s house to do some shopping at the mall. A normal happening. She would be back in a couple of hours. I walked through the open door as I heard the car drive away in the background, looking forward to a morning of fun with my cousins. As I walked into the typically energy filled living room, I realized no one was actually home –none of my cousins and not even my aunt. I can’t say that I remember the exact feeling I had but can pretty much bet it was the first time in my life I got that weird uncomfortable feeling in my gut – the feeling of the unknown, fear, and confusion all at the same time. You see, I was just 4 years old. Somehow my mom and aunt got their “communication wires crossed” and there I was standing in an empty living room – eerily quite – filled with a sense loss, confusion and the unknown.
So what did I do? I didn’t turn on the TV, I didn’t cry, I didn’t try to call anyone, and I didn’t go outside looking for help. I sat in Uncle Mike’s chair. The large lounge chair that was pretty much off limits to everyone, especially the kids, when Uncle Mike was home. Mike was a big man, intimidating to most, and we never even thought about sitting in that chair. But I sat in Uncle Mike’s chair. It fully engulfed my 4 year old frame, and at the same time gave me a sense of comfort, care and security. I will be safe in this chair. I sat in the chair feeling protected and cared for, knowing that my mom would eventually pick me up, or perhaps my aunt would soon be home.
And while I waited – feeling safe, but trying to comprehend what was happening – my attention was drawn to a spider on the outside sill of the nearest window. I observed intently this focused spider diligently spin its web – curiosly connecting to the the intricacy of the operation – I had never seen this before. So there I was, for a good hour or so, sitting in Uncle Mikes ‘forbidden’ chair and ‘cheering on’ a small creature striving to complete the tall task of building its home. Time moved along and eventually my mom was entering through the front door realizing I had been all alone. But I was okay.
Uncle Mike’s chair and a busy spider had provided me the comfort and connection I needed as I experienced the unknown and feeling of isolation for the first time.
Nearly 40 years later, I would again recall the need for that chair and spider. When I walked into Kara’s doors in the fall of 2008, I again had that weird uncomfortable feeling in my gut – confusion, fear, deep sadness, isolation, and anger – but this time it was from being a newly bereaved father. And it was at Kara through the compassion of my peer support counselor and community of my parent support group where I found the comfort and connection I needed to be okay and find renewed hope and meaning after my loss.
Now, as I lead the organization beyond its 40 years of service to the community, my goal every day is to ensure that adults, children and organizations facing the challenging realities of navigating a death get help and support. That we provide the comfort and connection they need.
Forty days from now Kara will officially acknowledge our longstanding service to the community at our 40th Anniversary Celebration & Fundraiser. Be sure to keep up with our social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, and this Blog – where we’ll be highlighting quotes, interviews and videos of our services as we lead up to this special evening. Perhaps we’ll even see a chair or spider.